Augmenting Student Intellect: Tools for the Road

During my four years at Mary Washington technology has played in an integral role in my daily life. Most importantly technology has radically changed the way I learn in and outside of the classroom. If technology had not been so tightly interwoven into my experience I believe my education would be fundamentally different and, I would argue, worse. During this presentation I will reflect back on the technology tools that helped develop, mold and augment my experience as a student at Mary Washington.

I Contain Multitudes: Finding Whitman in a Digital World

“Digital Whitman,” a Fall 2009 senior seminar in English taught by Mara Scanlon, Brady Earnhart, and Jim Groom, was part of an NEH-funded grant called “Looking for Whitman: the Poetry of Place in the Life and Work of Walt Whitman.”  This project, which was cited in the 2010 Horizon Report from The New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE, allied five classes, at four institutions, on two continents, with strikingly different student profiles, through open source blogging and social networking technologies.  Considering specific technologies, multimedia student work, pedagogical challenges and rewards, and the implications of the open and collaborative classroom, this presentation will discuss the experience of teaching in a unique, digitally linked, distributed environment.

Connecting Across Campus: An Interdisciplinary Software Project

The UMW Speaking Center consultants have been taking in more and more appointments from an increasing number of students. Typically we receive appointment requests by email, telephone, or in person. In an effort to improve efficiency, together with CPSC students under the supervision of Professor Jennifer Polack, we have been developing and testing a new online appointment scheduler software that we hope one day will replace the need for any of the aforementioned methods of scheduling appointments.

Much of what has appeared in print relating to synchronous online student demographics has been speculative.  Widely accepted assumptions identify the following groups as most likely to use a synchronous service: distance education students, physically challenged students, students seeking additional privacy, students unable to come to the center during traditional hours, and highly apprehensive students. The data collected validates some of these assumptions and negates others.

Demographic Characteristics of Synchronous Online Learners: A Quantitative Study

This presentation will discuss data from a two-year study of nontraditional students who chose to meet synchronously online with a writing center consultant rather than meet face-to-face.  Consultations were hosted using Elluminate, allowing even dial-up students to meet, talk, chat, and application share with a consultant.  The study tracks the program’s progress from its inception and takes an in-depth look at online client demographics, the reason(s) clients elect to meet online, and client perceptions of the online conferencing experience.

Approximately one week after their conference, writing center clients were sent an online survey designed to answer the following questions: 1)Are there significant demographic differences between the f2f and online clients? 2) Why do writing center clients choose to use an online service? 3)Are there significant differences in how f2f and online clients perceive their conferencing experience? Data was collected from 279 writing center clients via e-mail surveys – 189 f2f clients and 90 online clients – coded, and then analyzed using SPSS analysis software.

Using JING to Create a Software Demonstration Video

I often teach in a classroom without the technology needed to demonstrate the software I want my students to use.  I have added a lot of step-by-step directions to my assignments but some students need more help.  At the International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics this past spring I saw a demonstration of how JING can be used to create short demonstration videos.  I downloaded JING and within a couple of hours had my first video ready to go!  In this presentation I will describe how easy it was to use JING and also some of the difficulties I had to overcome.

Is Digital Scholarship Really Scholarship?

This session will consider its eponymous question in the context of the future of the university. The format of the session will focus on a conversation motivated by the following questions:  What is digital scholarship?  What forms does it take?  Does it/should it count in your department/discipline for purposes of tenure, promotion, fame & fortune? What advantages does it hold over traditional scholarship? Is digital scholarship really “digital?”

Each presenter will offer a brief (10-minute) statement, followed by a longer period of discussion.

Curriculum, Community, and the Capacious Blog

At a minimum, blogs may be aesthetically pleasing and fluid course management systems.  But my interest here is in what I call the “capacious blog,” the ability of the multiuser course blog to contain all levels of discourse, to be both analysis and play or indeed to blur the lines between the two.  What is the relationship of such a blog to traditional course content and to formal assignments?  What is its relationship to the intellectual and embodied community of the humans in the classroom?  What is the pedagogical purpose of allowing or fostering a capacious blog?

Wake Up!: Blogs as a Tool to Encourage Students Progress from Learning to Acting

Discussions about environmental problems require multimedia—no lecture can present the same impact as a photo of turtles entangled in a net or a video of a mountaintop exploding. Typically, the professor chooses the photos, videos, even the issues, to present. Learning about and discussing all these environmental problems, however, can become discouraging, and students can all too easily disconnect. Continuing the discussions onto blog pages allows many more sources, points of view, and subsequent thoughts and actions to be shared, which could empower the students. It also provides the opportunity for students not just to reflect on the course concepts and discussions, but also to add creativity and multimedia to their essays. This presentation will show how blogging in the new course, EESC230 Global Environmental Problems, helped students to wake up and look at their world, express a more personal connection with environmental problems ,and then explore and navigate their burgeoning environmental activism. In the end, students emerged with a deeper, more entrenched connection to and knowledge of many environmental issues than expected by using course blogs.

Fostering Connections in Business Communities through Social Networking

Social networking is a part of most students’ personal and professional lives. This presentation showcases an online learning community fostering connections between students, academia, industry experts, and business partners. Discussion focuses on the role of social networks in business and the value of personal brand creation in business communities.

Finding Their Own Way: Student Digital History Projects

In this panel, 3-4 students from the Adventures in Digital History Senior Seminar will discuss the process by which they developed and created group digital history projects on Civil War Fredericksburg, the James Monroe Papers, and Mary Ball Washington.  They’ll also discuss how such free-form assignments fit into their liberal arts experience.